Liverpool have bitten off more than they can chew with Luis Suarez and who’s next on his menu – Dimitar Burgertov? Groan. Joking aside, the actions of the Liverpool striker will only add to his flailing reputation, but doesn’t the incident also highlight how exaggerated football is becoming? It was just a cheeky nibble and not a Cantona-esque kung fu kick on a fan after-all…
Hard men and football
Roll back the years to the 1960s and 70s ‘when football was played by real men’ and you would face the likes of Chelsea’s Ron ‘Chopper’ Harris who gained his nickname for his brutal ‘playing style’. Every generation has a hard man. Vinnie Jones in the 1980s and the no nonsense Roy Keane in the 1990s; although Keane was a Champions League and seven-time Premier League winner he also committed a revenge attack-tackle on Alf Inge-Haaland which ended the player’s career.
On one hand, these players were punished for their actions, and on the other, their fiery, nasty temperaments haven’t affected their careers, and in some cases they have been celebrated. So surely we’re making a bit of a meal out of Suarez?
Vinnie Jones has an a established career as Hollywood ‘hardman’
Vinnie Jones has become an actor; his aggression and hard man image used in films such as Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch and Mean Machine. Roy Keane has been regularly invited as a pundit with major broadcasters despite his strong opinions, and Chelsea’s Ron ‘Chopper’ Harris sits comfortably in the folklore among fans.
Interestingly, Keane was originally given the same number of match bans as Suarez for the infamous tackle that finished Haaland’s career. Cast your mind back to the image of Keane standing over the injured Haaland splayed on out in agony on the floor, does this even come close to the Saurez incident?
Iconic image of Roy Keane shouting at Haaland after horror tackle
Is it real or acting?
Whilst I’m not suggesting we should issue the return of the tough tacking days reminiscent of Keane and Vieira, tactical diving and footballers who go down too easily seem to becoming all too familiar. A happy medium between the two is what we should strive to achieve.
If you watch a youth game of football, you’ll most likely see at least one instance of a kid of rolling around on the floor after a challenge because it is what happens in the Premier League all too often.
It has become part of the tactic of winning a free kick/penalty and inflicting a card on the perpetrator. Yes, you have been tackled and the initial shock of it was bad but you are not hurt. This is testament to the fact as soon as the whistle goes, the free kick has been awarded and maybe a card pulled out, you’re back on your feet as if by magic. It’s a miracle.
Suarez biting Branislav Ivanovic’s arm is humorous, ridiculous and serious at the same time. Let’s hope the under eight teams don’t start taking chunks out of each other’s arms and let’s also not become too overzealous with this incident. Saurez was frustrated and needed a Snickers, not anger management. Someone who does need this though, is Sergio Aguero after his two footed stomp *ahem* I mean tackle.